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Music School

Music School

 The West Neighbourhood Music School has been providing adults and children with the chance to experience the joy of music since 1930.

Today, students of all ages and abilities are welcome to enroll in programs at the Music School. Subsidies are available.

COVID-19 update: The Music School is operating virtually. Come join us for fun sing-alongs and music lessons on Zoom! For more information, please contact Sherry at 416-532-4828 ext. 127 or 416-738-5789, or email sherrysq@westnh.org.

 

Essential Information

What programs are currently available:

  • Common Thread Kids Choir, a non-auditioned choir for children 6-13 years old. With conductor Leanne Piller, students will learn a wide variety of songs that build a sense of belonging, respect for diversity, and positive social change from a youth perspective. Common Thread Kids is the result of a partnership between West Neighbourhood House and Common Thread Community Chorus.
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir, an adult community choir (ages 14 and up) that sings a wide range of music from spiritual and show tunes to world music and folk. There is no audition and all are welcome.
  • Private music lessons for children and adults, currently being offered virtually.
  • Let’s Get Musical, an online program for older adults run through our Adult Day Program.

Please note, the following Music School programs are currently on pause due to COVID-19:

  • Youth Inside Opera Program
  • After-School Opera Program
  • Suite Life Arts for Youth

Where:

Online via Zoom

When:

  • Common Thread Kids Choir — Mondays, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir — Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Private music lessons — by appointment

Cost:

  • Common Thread Kids Choir — $2.00 – $7.00 (sliding scale basis)
  • Toronto Song Lovers Adults Choir — $2.00 – $7.00 (sliding scale basis)
  • Private music lessons —
    • 30 min.: $20.00
    • 45 min.: $30.00
    • 60 min.: $40.00

How to Register:

To join our choirs or for information on private music lessons, please contact Sherry at 416-532-4828 ext. 127 or 416-738-5789, or email sherrysq@westnh.org.

 

Members of the Common Thread Kids Choir got their first taste of the stage by performing as gingerbread children in a production of Hansel and Gretel at the Canadian Opera Company in February 2019

Members of the Common Thread Kids Choir got their first taste of the stage by performing as gingerbread children in a production of Hansel and Gretel at the Canadian Opera Company in February 2019

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the Music School? 
The Music School at West Neighbourhood House is Canada’s second-longest running community music school. It was started in 1930 by then-agency director Lally Fleming, the Music School’s first Director Helen Larkin and Sir Ernest MacMillan of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Sir Ernest MacMillan had the idea to use the Music School as a practical training course for the Conservatory’s music education students. This would also provide an opportunity for students to find room and board, as St. Christopher House was at that time a full settlement house, with staff living and working in the same building. (You can read more about West Neighbourhood’s history here.)

This arrangement with the Conservatory led to a long-term relationship with Boris Berlin, who was one of the first teachers at St. Christopher House Music School, and who later became a legend in music education in Canada. Mr. Berlin was a special guest at St. Chris’ 70th Birthday Celebrations in April, 2000.
 
How has the Music School evolved over the last century?
Since its inception in 1930, the changing interests of our community have been mirrored by various initiatives of the Music School  Important teachers from the National Ballet School taught dance. We sponsored the first steel drum band in Canada (second in North America), which became so large that we spun it off into the community as its own school. We have had all manner of programs in between, ranging from marching bands to jazz instruction.
 
Does the Music School offer subsidies for program fees? 
One of the mandates of the Music School is to ensure affordable lessons. Further subsidy can be available to those who meet the requirements. Students who qualify for subsidy must live within our catchment area which is Bathurst to Roncesvalles, Bloor to the Lakeshore. Each case is individual and subsidy amounts vary according to a sliding scale. All information is confidential between the Coordinator and family. Copies of proof of income and proof of address must be included with the registration form.